The IWA has responded to the joint consultation on the European (Withdrawal) Bill and its implications for Wales, run by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee and the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee.
It is our considered opinion that the proposals in this Bill fall far short of the transparency and robust scrutiny the people of Wales – and the UK as a whole – deserve. The Bill fails to respect the power already granted to the elected Governments in Scotland and Wales, and to respect the democratic legislatures in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The response identifies three key weaknesses in the Bill, as initially presented:
- This Bill can be viewed as a roll-back on devolution, and a threat to the stability of the Union
- It is unsatisfactory for the UK Government to decide new policy regimes across the UK for matters that are not reserved to Westminster, when it is also the de facto government of England
- The delegated powers conferred on UK Government Ministers within the Bill are broad and substantial, whereas the arrangements for parliamentary scrutiny are inadequate.
There is a strong case for the National Assembly for Wales and the UK Parliament to develop improved mechanisms for liaison and collaborative scrutiny, and we believe this should be pursued as an immediate priority.
Our full response to the consultation is available to read here.